When you’re not in the office working together, it’s difficult to get a sense of how much time your team is spending on different projects and this lack of visibility can be frustrating for managers. Time tracking tools allow project managers to effectively manage time and ensure projects are on track.
Within these tools, managers are able to allocate time estimates at the beginning of a project. Team members are then able to update time as they work through the project and the project can be monitored to ensure it is on track and not going overtime.
Top Solutions: Toggl and Harvest
We recommend using either Toggl or Harvest. Both of these tools have great time tracking capabilities that are easy for your team to get started on straight away. We decided to use Toggl as we found the mix of features best for our business, however both tools are good options.
The below screenshot shows the reporting interface in Toggl allowing project managers to easily see current time tracked per project.
An important consideration for time tracking is integration with other apps. You will likely want your time tracking data to be pulled into other tools that you use such as your project management tool and your accounting software. Toggl and Harvest both integrate with a number of project management tools allowing you to sync the data across. We are using ClickUp for project management, which has its own inbuilt time management tool. This is ideal since it means we can set up a project once in ClickUp and track time against it. Rather than setup projects in two different locations and integrate between them.
Harvest allows users to track billable time and then automatically integrate this into invoices. Harvest is able to generate its own invoices or integrate time data into a number of accounting software platforms like Xero or QBO.
Avoid Being Overly Invasive and Micromanaging
It’s important to tread carefully here. In my experience as both employee and employer using time management software, the way you use these tools can positively or negatively affect your team. When implementing this process at first, employees can feel like they are being micromanaged or that the time they are spending on tasks is coming into question.
Some tools like Time Doctor are overly invasive. It has a feature that takes screenshots of users screens at random intervals and then sends these screenshots back to managers – read about this here. There are also features which prevent the use of certain websites and social media or track time spent on these platforms. If you are using this for personal reasons to track your own performance, this is one thing, but for teams I think this is over intrusive. Time tracking for teams should be used only to track project time and ensure allocated time is not being exceeded.